Mau must be restored, Raila declares

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By Peter Orengo

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said the Government is determined to reclaim the Mau Forest.

Speaking at the closing of a roundtable meeting for African Parliamentarians on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change in Nairobi yesterday, Raila said he would not relent on an issue that affects the whole country and the region.

“Lets not argue about the merits of saving the Mau forest complex and other water catchments areas yet recent events have demonstrated that these ecosystems are critical and must be conserved,” Raila said.

The complex has elicited controversy involving environmentalists, Government and the invaders who are unwilling to leave the forest.

On Friday, Raila said invaders have to leave or else in the next eight years, major rivers and lakes will dry up.

The MPs from Ghana, Egypt, Senegal, Chad, Madagascar, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda Namibia and Kenya endorsed an action plan on disaster risk management and climatic adoption.

“We must espouse policies which lead to sustainable development even when they are not politically palatable. Only then will we make communities more resilient and able to adopt to climatic change,” said Raila.

Meanwhile, Achim Steiner, the Unep executive director has called on governments to be vigilant to preserve rivers and lakes.

Mau Forest, the largest canopy in Kenya was discussed on Thursday’s morning session by the Council of Environment Ministers meeting in Nairobi. Scientists told the meet that the forest had lost a quarter of its cover in the past decade due to illegal clearance and degradation.

“The Mau generates goods and services worth more than Sh20 billion annually for the countries tea, tourism and hydro-power sectors.” Steiner said.

He said Unep would intensify its efforts to assist Kenya conserve Mau ecosystem.

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